Best Window Air Conditioners of 2018

Noel Case ·
Writer/Reviewer
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We have been reviewing window air conditioners since 2013. In the last year, we spent more than 110 hours evaluating and reviewing window AC units. The best window air conditioner we found was the LG LW8017ERSM. While this LG model is a little pricier than other window AC units we reviewed, it has all the convenience features we looked for, is extremely energy efficient and is the most powerful of all the products we evaluated.    

Best Overall
LG LW8017ERSM
The LG LW8015ER is energy efficient and powerful, and it can cool a good-sized room of up to about 340 square feet quickly. It is great for humid climates since it removes more moisture from the air than other units we evaluated.
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Best Value for Small Rooms
Keystone KSTAW05B
The Keystone KSTAW05B is an affordable window air conditioner with a nice feature package. It lacks the power of bigger, more expensive units, but is a great choice for a small room of up to 150 square feet.
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Most Energy Efficient
GE AEM05LX
The GE AEM05LX doesn’t have a lot of extras, but it is solidly built and one of the most energy efficient AC units in our lineup. It has the highest energy efficiency rating and the lowest estimated yearly energy costs of any AC in our lineup.
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Product
Price
OVERALL RATING
Effficiency
Pricing
Convenience
Design & Warranty
Energy Efficiency Rating
Maximum Air Flow
Energy Star Qualified
Moisture Removal
AHAM Certified
UL Listed
Estimated Annual Energy Cost
Price
Energy Saver Mode
Dehumdify Only
Sleep Mode
Auto Restart
Appliance Warranty
Noise Level
BTU
4-Way Directional Louvers
Compressor Warranty
Room Size
Width
Height
Depth
Weight
Maximum Window Kit Width
Minimum Window Height
$229.95 Wal-Mart
5 3.8 5 5
12.1 EER
220 CFM
2.2 pints/hour
$60.00
$249.00
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
60
8000
1 Year
340 square feet
19.56 Inches
12.37 Inches
19.37 Inches
58 Pounds
36 Inches
13 Inches
$179.95 Wal-Mart
4.7 4.5 4.5 5
12.1 EER
147 CFM
1.3 pints/hour
$48.00
$189.00
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
56
6000
5 Years
250 square feet
18.5 Inches
12.75 Inches
15.71 Inches
45 Pounds
36 Inches
14 Inches
$147 Amazon
3.8 5 5 4.2
11.2 EER
129 CFM
1.3 pints/hour
$38.53
$159.00
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
55
5000
5 Years
150 square feet
16 Inches
12 Inches
15.75 Inches
40 Pounds
36 Inches
13 Inches
$219 Amazon Warehouse
4.8 3.9 4.2 4.9
11.2 EER
200 CFM
1.8 pints/hour
$46.29
$327.49
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
70
6000
5 Years
250 square feet
18.6 Inches
14 Inches
20.8 Inches
60 Pounds
36 Inches
14.12 Inches
$29.95 Wal-Mart
4.8 4.5 3.2 4.9
11.2 EER
1.5 CFM
1.6 pints/hour
$41.00
$148.57
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
49
5000
1 Year
150 square feet
16.4 Inches
12.6 Inches
14 Inches
40.79 Pounds
36 Inches
13.38 Inches
$229.99 Electronicexpress
4.4 4.5 3.2 4.9
12.1 EER
143.3 CFM
0 pints/hour
$42.34
$229.99
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
51.9
6000
1 Year
250 square feet
18.5 Inches
13.5 Inches
13.5 Inches
52.69 Pounds
36 Inches
14 Inches
$146.99 Walmart - UnbeatableSale
3.9 5 3.2 4.7
11.2 EER
200 CFM
1.8 pints/hour
$46.29
$196.78
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
53
6000
1 Year
250 square feet
18.75 Inches
13.4 Inches
18.75 Inches
45 Pounds
36 Inches
14 Inches
$159 ABT
4.7 4.9 1.9 3.7
12.4 EER
145 CFM
1.4 pints/hour
$38.00
$177.65
Yes
No
No
No
Not Stated
5200
1 Year
260 square feet
18.59 Inches
12.75 Inches
15.71 Inches
44 Pounds
38 Inches
13.5 Inches
Best Overall
The LG LW8015ER is a powerful, energy-efficient choice that will cool a room of up to 340 square feet.
It costs more to run than the other window ACs in our lineup, but it also does a lot more than the average window AC. This LG air conditioner has an energy efficiency rating of 12.1, which is well above the minimum required to be Energy Star compliant. It does come at a cost, though. The LG LW8015ER is more expensive than other units we reviewed. It is also heavy, at 54 pounds. However, in addition to being the most powerful AC in our lineup, with a maximum airflow of 220 cubic feet per minute, it is energy efficient. It keeps tabs on the temperature of your room and shuts off in three-minute intervals, so you’re not cooling an already cooled room. It also uses the internal fan to circulate the cool air from the compressor so this important part of the unit isn’t overworked, which can make it burn out more quickly. While this LG AC unit doesn’t have an automatic shut-off, it does have a timer so you can control how long it runs. It also has auto restart, so it will resume operating with its former settings if there is a power outage. This LG is also a good choice for humid climates because it can efficiently pull 2.2 pints of moisture per hour out of the air, significantly more than any other model we researched. And switching to dehumidify mode lets you draw out the moisture without changing the temperature of the air. The estimated annual energy cost of $60 are more than any other unit we looked at, but that is a reflection of how much space it cools, not a lack of efficiency.
Pros
  • Energy efficiency ratio of 12
  • Removes 2.2 pints of moisture per hour
  • Cools up to 340 square feet
Cons
  • Costs more to run than other models
  • Weighs 54 pounds
  • More expensive than other models
$304.99Amazon
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Best Value for Small Rooms
The Keystone KSTAW05B has 5,000 Btu of cooling power, which makes it a good fit for small rooms of up to 150 square feet, though it isn’t powerful enough for a typical master bedroom or larger rooms.
This is the most compact and lightest window AC we reviewed – it only weighs 40 pounds, which makes it easy to install in most windows. The unit’s small size and low power consumption mean it costs less to run than most of the other window ACs we reviewed. It is Energy Star certified and has an EER rating of 11.2, which makes it an energy efficient option. It also has a nice feature package. We were surprised to see that this Keystone AC is one of only a few models that has every convenience feature we looked for, including a remote control, programmable timer and an auto mode. It even has less-common features like a dehumidifier mode and a sleep mode. The five-year compressor warranty is much better than the one-year coverage similarly priced models carry. Because this unit is more affordable than other window air conditioners we evaluated, it has some limitations. In particular, it has a low airflow, 129 CFM, which is another reason the unit is only suitable for small rooms.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Five-year compressor warranty
  • Lightest, most compact model we reviewed
Cons
  • Strictly for small rooms
  • Low maximum airflow
  • Limited directional air flow
US$147Amazon
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Most Energy Efficient
The GE AEM05LX is an excellent window AC unit for small or medium-size rooms.
Although it has less power than some of the window air conditioners we reviewed, it cools a bigger space than most at 260 square feet. This is partly a result of its excellent efficiency. This GE window air conditioner had the highest energy efficiency rating of any AC unit in our lineup at 12.4. This means it makes efficient use of its Btu output. It also has the lowest estimated yearly energy costs. Its airflow rating of 145 CFM is average when compared to other window air conditioners in our lineup, but it can effectively cool a small or midsize room. While this is a well-designed, high functioning window AC, it is lacking in convenience features. It has an energy saving mode, but no dehumidify-only or sleep mode, and it won’t restart automatically to its previous settings if there is a power outage. It also has an industry-standard warranty of one year for parts, labor and the compressor. This is a lightweight, compact air conditioner that is easy to install if you follow the instructions in the manual.
Pros
  • Excellent energy efficiency
  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • Low annual energy costs
Cons
  • Average airflow
  • Average warranty
  • No auto restart function
US$177.65Amazon
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Best for Large Living Areas
For large rooms, we found the Friedrich Chill CP06G10B is a good choice because it efficiently cools 250 square feet, which is larger than a standard kitchen.
And because the louver is multi-directional, you can direct cool air to multiple spots in your room at once. This window AC has a timer that you set to control when the Friedrich turns off and on throughout the day, and it has an energy-saver mode that turns the fan off every three minutes to check if the room is cool enough to stop completely. And if the power goes out, the Friedrich window air conditioner has an auto-restart mode that turns the AC back to your preferred settings once the power is back on. The Friedrich Chill CP06G10B is Energy Star certified, so it saves on power while running and comes with a five-year warranty on the compressor, the part that cools the air. The biggest drawback is this window AC is pretty heavy, over 60 pounds, so you’ll likely need some help getting it set in your window.
Pros
  • Cools 250 square feet
Cons
  • Weighs a lot
$319.00Amazon
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Quietest Window AC
The Haier HWF05XCR-L only makes 49 decibels of noise on its highest setting. That’s softer than two people having a normal conversation, or a bird chirping outside.
This window air conditioner is designed to cool smaller rooms of about 150 square feet, and its louver can only be pointed in one direction instead of four as bigger units typical do. This window AC has a dehumidifier setting that pulls moisture from the air to help keep it drier and cooler in your home. This is especially helpful in more humid areas. It also has a sleep mode and energy-saver mode, but it doesn’t have an auto-restart in case the power goes out. The Haier HWF05XCR-L weighs just over 40 pounds, which is a lot considering how compact this air conditioner is compared to others we reviewed. Still, this is about normal for a window AC and shouldn’t be too much trouble to set up.
Pros
  • Has a dehumidify mode
Cons
  • Doesn’t have auto-restart
$169.39Amazon
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Why Trust Us

Since 2016, we've tested programmable thermostats and fans in-house at ShopSavvy. This experience has helped inform many of our conclusions relating to other heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment. We apply exacting standards to each product we test, primarily focusing on performance and user-friendliness. We design our tests to simulate typical consumer experiences.

When, as in the case of window air conditioners, we cannot test the physical product ourselves, we apply the same due diligence to make sure our information and conclusions reflect the mission of ShopSavvy.

How We Tested

During our evaluations, we relied on manufacturer specifications as we considered each unit’s cooling ability and energy efficiency. We weighted each air conditioner's ability to move air through a room, operate in different modes and cool effectively more heavily than other features.

We also considered each unit's energy efficiency rating and calculated the estimated annual cost to operate it. We used an industry-standard formula to estimate the annual energy cost based on someone using the unit eight hours a day for three months out of the year. Your actual cost depends on how often you use the air conditioner and the cost of electricity in your area – the national average is 12 cents per kilowatt hour – so your actual energy cost may vary from our estimate.

Ease of use is also important, so we looked for features that contribute to it such as modes of operation. For example, nearly every unit we reviewed includes a remote control and a programmable timer, which lets you control the air conditioner from across the room and set it to turn on or off at specific times.

Although they may not be the most maneuverable AC units available, in-window air conditioners shouldn't be too heavy to lift into the windowsill, and they should be easy to install. Also, consider how much noise the AC makes as it runs – on average, window air conditioners make about 54 decibels of noise, which is about as loud as a conversation between two people. Look for a model with a sound output around this average, if not lower, if you plan on using it while you sleep.

How much does a budget window air conditioner cost?

For a budget-friendly and energy efficient window AC unit, you can expect to pay between $100 and $300. These units typically don’t have a lot of features and most aren’t multi-directional but do come with at least a one-year warranty that covers the compressor.


Things to Consider When Choosing an In-Window Air Conditioner


Room Size & Cooling Performance
Air conditioners use British thermal units (Btu) to indicate the size of the room they can cool. Using a calculation from the Energy Star organization, an air conditioner rated at 5,000 Btu can cool rooms up to 150 square feet, whereas a unit with 7,000 Btu can cool rooms up to 300 square feet.

The next thing to consider is the model's maximum airflow, measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). A higher CFM means better airflow in a room, which helps improve cooling performance.

Efficiency Ratings & Certification
Every air conditioner has an energy efficiency ratio (EER), and the higher the EER, the more efficient the air conditioner is. The average EER of the window air conditioners we compared is 11.7, though the most efficient units have EER ratings over 12. Typically, appliances that are Energy Star certified are 20 to 30 percent more efficient than minimum requirements.

UL Listed products have been tested by Underwriters Laboratories, which is a safety and consulting company. AHAM-certified units have passed performance evaluations by Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

Installation

Setting up a window AC unit should take a matter of minutes and shouldn't be a headache or a serious workout, so look for one that is lightweight and easy to install. The average weight of window air conditioners in our lineup is about 48 pounds, which can make them difficult to install without help.

These AC units also include a window kit that seals open spaces the unit itself does not cover. The kits tend to be the weak point in these systems, as improper installation allows cool air to escape the room and hot air to enter the house. Make sure you buy a unit with a kit that fits your window with a proper seal.

Operation Modes
Regardless of which air conditioner you purchase, you want one with customizable modes you can match to your preferences. Choose a unit with cooling modes, fan-only modes and adjustable fan speeds. If you live in a humid environment, look for one with a dehumidifying mode that pulls excess moisture out of the air. If you plan to use the air conditioner while you sleep, consider a model with a sleep mode, which gradually raises the temperature during the night, helping save energy while keeping you comfortable.